The Fastest Gun Alive Review


It’s fairly rare to have a western without much travelling or gunfights but The Fastest Gun Alive manages to pull this off pretty well. It’s more of a down to Earth story about a guy trying to walk away from the business. Unfortunately the main character doesn’t end up being a likable character though as he makes the wrong decisions consistently throughout the movie. The movie survives despite him though and it’s a pretty solid experience. You’ll be kept interested throughout.

The movie starts off with the main villain Vinnie searching for a man named Fallon. Fallon is said to be the fastest gun around. Well, Vinnie takes him down in a gun fight and is now satisfied as the best. Meanwhile, news travels around to a small town where everyone is fascinated by the idea of someone being this fast. This annoys George because he is actually a very good gunman, but he doesn’t let anyone know it. He prefers to live as a very meek shop owner who just minds his business. The issue is that this all starts to get to him more and more. Will he remain strong or is it time to show everyone what he’s got?

Needless to say, George definitely doesn’t stay strong and quickly tries to prove himself to everyone. Part of what makes the character annoying is that he lets everyone get to him rather easily. He doesn’t help matters either by deciding not to dance or constantly going out on walks instead of actually minding the store. He basically leaves all of the work to his wife Dora. We find out later on that George also lied to her about getting rid of his gun when he kept it the whole time. He just made every kind of mistake possible and either got drunk easy after his half a cup or his desperation made him drunk. Either way he definitely did not look good during the whole saloon scene where he is making fun of everyone.

I can maybe get past that except then at the end he is too afraid to go out and fight Vinnie when the villain hears about this. Not only is this directly George’s fault for showing off but he is willing to let the entire town burn if it means that he doesn’t have to fight. It makes sense that some people don’t want t fight in a gun battle of course and George would usually have the right to refuse a challenge but not in this circumstance. It’s only when another member of the town tries to go in his place that George finally works up the courage to act. A lead who wants to be recognized but then immediately regrets it is just too wishy washy to be a quality lead. He should have just been content with the life he had with Dora. She did her best to help out and he wasn’t grateful.

Meanwhile Dora is a solid character. She does her best to keep George on the straight and narrow but at the end of the day she has her limits too and made sure to hold her ground. Moving again wasn’t going to be an option for her. She definitely didn’t support the gun business in the slightest. As for the rest of the town, they all seemed pretty friendly except for one guy who was always getting on George with some passive aggressive comments. It’s clear that the guy had some strong views about guns but at the very least that’s as far as he went. With the rest of the town seeming pretty supportive to me I still say George had a great gig here that he was willing to blow for a few minutes of fame. Even the older man who kept recounting the story about the gunfight was having a good time. It was a pretty thrilling experience for him so why not enjoy it a lot right?

We get one long dance scene in the film where one teen gets to show off his moves. It feels like the potential start to a romance subplot that never actually happens. I feel like there was more that was cut out from the film or something. Still, it’s a pretty solid scene because the moves are quite impressive. He’s able to use all of the objects in the room to his advantage with some tight footwork and clearly he has spent a lot of time honing his skills at the barn. So while the entire scene is really filler to be honest, it’s a pretty fun scene to watch. I’d say it even beats a lot of the more classic dancing scenes you would typically see because this felt more like an athletic exhibition.

Meanwhile Vinnie was a solid main villain. He has an honor code which I like and he was also smart enough to make sure that none of the other two villains would stab him in the back. The guy’s gun skills were also the real deal so he makes for a very complete villain. The icing on the top was the fact that he has a good honor code where he doesn’t attack kids or dogs. You really couldn’t ask for much more out of a quality villain like this. There is a lot of build up to his big fight with George and it makes for an epic way to end off the movie. The ending to the film is quite solid and a great way to wrap things up.

The writing in the movie is on point as you would probably expect. The dialogue is pretty strong and there are a lot of quality discussions the whole time like deciding how to handle the situation with Vinnie getting ready to burn the town. I may not have liked George but he was still written well and never got crazy or anything like that. All of the characters are pretty reasonable and even minor characters like Vinnie’s right hand man get some personality in their brief appearances.

Overall, The Fastest Gun Alive is a solid western film. I like the idea of several characters all fighting it out to prove that they are the fastest. It’s a title they clearly all want to own since it’s a matter of pride. Even George was more into it than he would let on. At the same time as a blind character in the movie said, there is always someone faster. Your opponent could have a jammed gun like someone else mentioned or maybe just a bad day. In a gun draw where both characters quickly try to fire off their shot, there are a lot of ways that things may not plan out as you figured. Every bit of speed comes in handy in those ties though. I would definitely recommend checking this film out if you like the Wild West. It’s an all around solid title.

Overall 7/10

Star Ocean: Second Evolution Review


This game has been on the backburner for quite a while. It’s one of the last PSP games I hadn’t played yet so this was cool to knock out. Mixing the classic RPG setup with some Sci-Fi is always fun. The game has a good story and the fact that all of your partners are basically optional is pretty interesting. Apparently the game has over 80 variations of endings depending on how you use your team which is also cool. The game gets pretty difficult towards the end and there’s even a trick you can do to make the final boss even more difficult. You must be a master of the game to even attempt that I would imagine because otherwise that sounds pretty crazy. I was in the mid 80s for my level when I beat the game and while the last two bosses were quite easy thanks to this, taking down some of the earlier Wisemen was brutal with how they would petrify each member.

The game starts off with Claude and his father working on a spaceship. Claude has always wanted to follow in his Dad’s footsteps by becoming a pilot himself one day but unfortunately this isn’t to be. On one of their expeditions he gets a little too close to an artifact and is teleported to a primitive planet on another star system. He now has no way of getting back home. He decides to pretend he is around there. Claude meets a girl named Rena who explains that he is likely the fabled Hero of Light here to save them all. Calamity is approaching after all. More and more monsters have been appearing in the land and nobody is able to stand up to them. Well, Claude will do his best to help out until the crew can find him but does he even want to go back now?

The monsters are the main plot for most of the game but then towards the end we get a full villain group known as the Ten Wise Men. These guys are interesting because the game is definitely trying to go for something with their names here. You’ve got Zadkiel, Lucifer, Michael, and Gabriel all on the same team. Effectively the Angels and Demons have all decided to team up to destroy the universe. Why? Well, to be honest while usually I’d say I couldn’t tell you for spoiler reasons, they don’t really have any reason in particular. They want to either rule the universe or destroy it just because they can. They make for a pretty fun group I have to say. Their inclusion was a little last second but it definitely did help to increase the stakes here. I also tend to like villain groups in general.

As for the main characters, Claude is decent but not quite as good as the average RPG main character. He gets really jealous whenever Rena talks to her old friend Diaz which can get a little iffy. This often makes Claude act rather petty around her which isn’t a good look. I also think he should have come clean with the group about being from another star system a lot earlier in the game. It would have helped a lot particularly since he knew that the aliens were using high tech items as well. A little heads up could have gone a long way to saving more lives.

The death count in this game is absolutely massive. The villains just have more abilities and tech than the heroes so stopping them is really a difficult task. In any head to head confrontation you can really assume that the heroes are about to get wrecked. There are quite a number of fights in the game that you have to lose in order to progress the story. It’s a fun concept for sure but the only dicey thing is you may end up wasting a lot of potions and revives in this fight since you think you have a shot here.

Star Ocean ends rather abruptly without much of an after-ending so don’t expect a lot of closure for the characters. In particular I was expecting one of the old characters to show up again but I guess their premonition that they would never see him again was correct. You get the feeling that this game was left rather open ended for a sequel at some point. You could end the series with this game and it still works but there is definitely enough material for that third game. It’s definitely a satisfying story. I liked the way things turned out and the end of the game got to give Claude a good rage mode so he was more intense at the climax than he was for most of the game. You like to see it because he needed some more intensity the whole time.

As for Rena, she’s a solid heroine. Rena has her own story in the game and I’m sure that would give her even more backstory and personality like exploring her scenes with Diaz and all. She does well and keeps up with Claude the whole time. They have their share of disagreements but Rena is always reasonable about the whole thing. She’s a fun character to have around and has more of a presence than the other characters. Due to the optional nature of the rest of the party they don’t appear in any of the animated cutscenes. Even in the text ones their characters can be interchangeable. For example, I lost one fight with the Wisemen a lot to I had to keep seeing the cutscene over and over again and the side characters would take turns on who would talk to him but with the same dialogue each time. It was pretty interesting to see.

The best of the side characters would definitely be the travelling thief though. Her backstory got more time to shine than the others and since she was with the team near the beginning we at least got to see a lot of her. Some of the guys near the end came in rather late to the point where I intentionally left one of the kids back at base since he would just slow us down. I did like the rival Diaz quite a lot though. His skill with the sword was really impressive. Even by the end it’s hard to say if Claude had truly surpassed him or not. The tournament was a nice little event to show the gap in their abilities.

Not surprisingly the graphics here are really good. The fact that there are cutscenes which are completely animated at different points in the game was also very impressive. You definitely don’t see that every day I can tell you that much. The in game graphics are also on point. Not totally graphics related but I do think the game could have made the animations a little shorter though. Whenever the characters use a super attack there is a long unskippable cutscene that draws out the battles just a bit. Considering that you are going to need to grind out a lot of battles this can add up quite a lot.

As for the soundtrack, that was pretty good. It’s not quite at Tales of tier where each game has a super standout track but it still works out pretty well. There’s a lot of depth to the game so in addition to the 25-30 hours it takes to beat the game you’ve got a ton of replay value. You can beat the game again as Rena or work to get all of the other endings. It’ll definitely take a lot of time to do this so this game will last you an extremely long amount of time. It’s part of why RPGs tend to be some of the best games, you’ll almost always be very attached to what is going on by the end.

Overall, Star Ocean: Second Evolution is a great game. The plot is excellent and the characters are fun to root for. The anime cutscenes help to make this game feel high budget and the whole climax with the Ten Wise Men showing up was really good and kept a high energy approach the whole time. I liked the way you could allocate your abilities into skills as you leveled up since it made you have to decide on what to upgrade first. Strategy plays a huge role in this game. Star Ocean the series is off to a good start so I look forward to checking out more games in the series at some point. Either way if you have a PSP then I highly recommend picking this game up.

Overall 8/10

Rise – Dharuriser Review


Whenever you think of guys fighting in colorful suits you’re probably going to be thinking of Power Rangers or Kamen Rider. They have really done a whole lot to make this trend stick and in particular Power Rangers is one of those franchises that is just so huge at this point. It makes sense that there would be a lot of other competitors in the genre. Dharuriser is a one shot movie so you don’t need to watch anything else to get into it. It’s a little more down to Earth than some of the other titles I mentioned but we get quality action scenes and a good plot. This is a film I would be able to recommend to anyone who wants to watch a solid action film with a good story behind it.

The movie starts off by showing us how Akihiro’s dream of being an actor isn’t paying off all that well. His wife Mio is now pregnant so he needs a way to find some steady income. He reluctantly moves back into his father’s house but does not want to assist in the family business. He gets a job as a security guard instead and also enters a “create a suit” contest in his free time. He submits the Dharuman costume which later gets renamed to Dharuriser. The issue is that there is a very real villain group called DICE. They intend to purify the county by eliminating all those who they deem impure. They seem to be connected to the mystery discs embedded into everyone’s wrist. Can Akihiro find out what they are doing and stop them or will he ultimately not rise to the occasion?

At the end of the day Akihiro isn’t a hero when this all starts off. He doesn’t know how to fight and is just an ordinary guy. During the course of the film he works to change this as he gets more and more serious about being in the hero business. He’s a solid main character who is definitely determined and ends up helping out quite a lot when the going gets tough. He’s the kind of guy that you want in your corner when things get tough.

That said, I did agree with his father in some respects. Akihiro absolutely did not want to help in the hotel business but he’s got a family to think about. He was rather unreasonable about this from the start. If he didn’t want to go straight to work then he is taking advantage of his father’s house. It’s something he had to think about before having a kid. That’s why you wait to have children until you have a stable income and living situation. Akihiro didn’t really think any of this through and then he nearly loses his job by oversleeping. So he had his moments where he was taking things for granted to be sure but once he turned into Dharuriser he became a lot more reliable.

Akihiro’s wife Mio is definitely a quality character as well. She’s a very loyal character who takes his side at all times. Whenever he is in trouble she doesn’t throw extra blame on him either. There’s a scene where he is getting ready to fight again and you think she might guilt trip him, but instead she just helps him get back out there again. It’s always a nice change of pace to have a character who isn’t quick to change sides. Mio was someone he could count on.

The movie’s close to 2 hours so it’s able to capture quite a lot of story in that time. DICE gets a full backstory to the group and we gradually learn about their goals. The leader ended up using his goal of keeping someone alive more as an excuse though to be honest. He definitely went way overboard with the whole thing and cracked up. Akihiro’s friend from work would probably be the worst character though as he was corrupted really easily and never tried to fight it. He just went off the deep end rather quickly and never looked back. You probably won’t be able to trust him again after all that.

Akihiro’s parents were good. As mentioned, the father was pretty reasonable with why he was upset with the lead the whole time. The Mom always tried to calm things down between the two of them as well. Then you have Akihiro’s best friend who was pretty solid. He definitely came in handy quite a lot as he assisted Akihiro in pretty much every task. He could have been a little less nervous at the end since he has a one hit KO gun but I guess even with that he felt like the danger was too much.

As expected the fight scenes are pretty good here. We get a lot of quality hand to hand action. Akihiro certainly improved in hand to hand a lot over this period of time. The costume for Dharuriser also looks really good. A particular standout here would be the soundtrack though. There are a lot of great themes with a quick tempo that feel very fitting for the battle scenes. Sometimes even when there was no battle present the music would ramp up. It helps enhance the chase scenes and adds a bit of stakes to the fights. A good soundtrack can definitely go a long way.

Throughout the film someone is trying to contact Akihiro using a bit of telepathy and a lot of direct mental images. You can’t help but feel like the sender could have made the message more specific though. Akihiro wanted to help the whole time but without any hints as to where the villains are or how to recognize them, it’s not like he could have done much about it anyway. It’s not until the very end of the fil that he is given any real instructions. I feel like the sender could have done a better job with that and who knows, Akihiro may have ended things a lot sooner.

Overall, Dharuriser is a good movie that manages to stick the landing. Things almost get a bit dicey in the climax but Akhiro makes the right call. At times the film may seem a bit cheesy with the hero being able to dispatch tons and tons of opponents even though he just learned how to fight but when you consider that his opponents are often pretty old and don’t know how to fight then this adds up rather nicely. If the enemies had guns then that would have been tricky but it might be hard to acquire those in this small town. The film has no real weaknesses so it’s definitely one that you should have a lot of fun with.

Overall 7/10

Fate/Grand Order -First Order- Review


Grand Order is definitely a huge mobile game. You typically hear it referred to as Fate Go and in terms of sales there’s pretty much no other plot based mobile game that can match it. With a game being this massive it makes sense that it would span to become a whole franchise in itself. This movie starts us off with adapting the first part of the game and it’s a blast. It’s incredibly solid with a self contained story that perfectly ends off at a point where you’ll want to play the game to see where it goes or hope that the rest gets adapted.

The story starts by introducing us to some new concepts. There is an organization named Chaldea which exists to oversee the safety and continued existence of the human race. They do so by monitoring a globe that’s effectively a replica of the planet Earth that shows up to 2 years in advance. As long as this globe is safe, so will the Earth be. The series follows a new recruit named Ritsuka who is the final master who has been selected to help this organization. He ends up being thrown into the fire rather literally as an explosion occurs in the base which causes all of the other masters to be incapacitated or worse. This seems to be an act of sabotage and the globe has also turned into a ball of fire. The human race now has less than 2 years until they are obliterated. Rituska will have to use experimental time travel technology to warp back to the early 2000s where the Holy Grail War of the iconic Fate Stay Night is going on.

However, the timeline has been warped of course so nothing is as it should be. There is no Shirou Emiya left here and Servants are running around without masters. Ritsuka will have to find the source of this anomaly and revert the timeline back to its intended path. Fortunately he won’t be alone. A nice girl named Mash is here with him as a Servant. In Fate, a “Servant” is a fighter of unimaginable power who makes a contract with a master so that they can accomplish their goals. In the real world Mash was close to death after being crushed by debris but in this world she can harness extra powers as a Demi Servant including superhuman physical abilities as well as an unbreakable shield. The two heroes will be going up against Heroic Spirits with a lot of experience though so this won’t be easy.

Grand Order throws you right into the action and that’s really how things should be. You’ve got enough context here with the time travel and the idea of humanity being on the brink. From there you can enjoy the high concepts and action. The animation here is really high tier. The action is on point at all times and it’s nice to see all of the contrasting fighting styles. You’ve got sword fighters, archers, mages, shield based fighters, etc. Since all servants in this universe with few exceptions are famous heroes from various folklore and even real life, it’s always fun to see how they will be presented. One of the standout fights here would have to be Mash’s battle against Medusa while the Archer vs Caster battles are excellent as well. You’re not going to find any action scene that is sub par here or even average. They’re all just great. I would say the Saber fight is probably the weakest one as it’s less about choreography than the others and focuses on which is stronger, the sword or the shield. It’s still a satisfying conclusion though.

Ritsuka is a solid main character. He’s heroic and quick on the uptake. He may be a new recruit but he’s not panicking or yelling the whole time whenever he learns new details. When they tell him about the time travel he just jumps right in to help out with the plan. He may not be able to fight at this point but as a Master he does give Mash energy so he can at least focus on doing that. Then you have Mash who is a solid heroine. She’s fairly emotionless the whole time. Her backstory will get more detail in the show but you can quickly understand what her core personality is. Mash is very down to business and as a result she is able to fight very efficiently. She may be weaker than the other Servants but with her calculating fight style she can at least hold her own for a while.

There aren’t a lot of people who use a shield as a primary weapon either so that’s pretty unique. Then you have Olga who was the field commander in Chaldea. She has skill as a mage and it’s implied that she could be a formidable master but something is holding her back. She’s a fun enough character even if she typically exists to hold Ritsuka back from his attempts to jump into the fight. It’d be nice if she took a more active role to help but realistically the extent of her abilities seem to be basic energy blasts that wouldn’t work on any of the power powerful opponents. She’s a fun character to have around though.

Then we have Romani who has to step in as the director since basically everyone died in the fire. He went from being a humble doctor to the top role so that was quite the switch. He’s a fun guy though and likes to go about life on his own pace. He may panic a little more than some of the other characters as he is usually completely out of his depth but he tries his best. There’s also an animal mascot in the film who seems like he’ll be around for the long-haul but right now has not done anything for the plot. When an animal like this shows up though you know it’s going to end up being important near the end so keep an eye on this guy.

There’s also Lev who is one of the higher ranking members of the team. There’s not a whole lot to say about him here. Once we go to the Stay Night era, naturally we see some of the hype Servants although a lot of them died off screen before the series starts. It makes sense that Archer would still be around though. I would say he’s easily the most underrated Servant which I think is intentional on his part. I do question whether he could truly be controlled here since his “Independent Action” skill should make this completely impossible. My best guess here is that he has just decided to help Saber out with her plan because it’s another way to stick it to a certain character’s motivations. This other character would not agree with any of this. Of course another explanation could be that the subtle corruption influence makes it so Archer isn’t being controlled so much as influenced into really thinking this is what he wants to do. It’s a debate in itself but I would be on the first side.

Then we have Caster who is a lot of fun. As the Lancer in previous incarnations he was always one of the most honorable fighters and you could always count on him to make the right decisions and help out when needed. He keeps that heroic nature about him here as well. While some Heroic Spirits may not feel….Heroic, that’s never an issue with him. I do think he has more skill in his Lancer incarnation but he performs really impressively in this film. I do like the fact that in Fate any hero can be summoned in any role since it shows that they have so many skills that they can properly service any role. That said, I would assume they all have their specialties and that the first time we see them in FSN it is in their ideal roles. Medusa (I think this would be the Rider class) also looks pretty solid here. She definitely had quite the body count by the end of the film and her close quarter combat skills were impressive.

While the film goes through its action in a fairly standard fashion without getting overly gritty or anything, there’s one scene where you feel like it’s there just for shock value. Lets just say one statue bleeds a whole lot when it breaks, yet later on when a bunch of other statues are destroyed there is no blood to be had which makes a lot more sense. So that scene felt a bit forced but it’s a super minor thing and I wouldn’t call it that extreme. The film has a dark color scheme but that’s more for effect then trying to be edgy. It feels like Fate always takes place at night and I suppose that’s because there would be less humans getting in the way of the fights. I recall some kind of explanation like that in the first series although of course attacking in the day is still allowed.

Now you may have some power level questions by the end of this and that’s fair. Some of the fights here do go in a way that you will have a tough time buying but when the main characters are so severely outclassed you’ll probably expect that from jump. Particularly since all of the Servants here have been bumped up even more than usual. Of course one does have a habit of being defeated a lot but even so you get the feeling that Mash and Ritsuka would die as soon as they entered the battle. Even Caster really got lucky here as I don’t see him being able to even remotely be able to challenge Archer. As a Lancer I think he can put up a good fight and maybe even take the win if he can defeat Archer before the latter has the chance to use his Noble Phantasm but as a Caster I don’t see that being an option. The actual fights are still a lot of fun though.

The soundtrack here is definitely solid. You have a lot of the grand Fate themes that you will have come to expect. The story feels really grand and lives up to the title with the music amping it up like this. You always expect that Fate will be firing on all cylinders with the technical aspects and this film is no exception. You’ll be at the edge of your seat right away. The writing is great as well with the characters having a lot of sharp dialogue and considering all options. We also get a plot twist at the end of the film. It comes out of nowhere and is definitely effective. You’ll also feel bad for one character since things don’t go quite as planned. Then the ending has a big cliffhanger leading to a bunch of paths with a lot of potential.

Overall, First Order is a great introduction to the Grand Order timeline. I love time travel so seeing that introduced was naturally excellent. The future timeline and snowy landscape was also fun. It’s just a very interesting view of a possible Fate future with a lot of things to consider. The film really flies by so it’s over before you know it. The animation is top tier and the soundtrack is on point. I look forward to seeing more of the Grand Order universe and having them take advantage of the limitless possibilities with this plot. With 7 Singularities to correct and each one being in a different time period you know those will all make for pretty epic adventures. I’d definitely recommend checking this movie out.

Overall 8/10

Demon Slayer Review


It’s pretty neat to be reviewing the anime and manga versions of Demon Slayer almost back to back. When Ufotable jumped on to animate this series it was definitely a big deal. The manga went from being a pretty big Jump title to suddenly being a house hold name and breaking all kinds of records. It’s easy to see why though, Ufotable easily appears as the best animation company at the moment. (Although I’ll still take Studio Pierrot as my favorite company. They are able to keep a top rate level of animation for long running shows which is just as impressive but more on that in a future editorial) Their animations are just spectacular and the adaption of the manga is quite accurate. It’s certainly top notch in that respect but of course that also means the anime can get extremely violent. Ufotable isn’t about to shy away from such things so while this series is held back in that regard, you won’t be forgetting the battles.

The series begins with a kid named Tanjiro heading down the mountain to sell some wood and gain money/supplies for his family. Unfortunately when he returns it turns out that his family was murdered by demons. The only survivor is his sister Nezuko who has also been turned. Fortunately she is able to resist the urge to eat humans but she can no longer be in the sunlight. Tanjiro convinces an ex Demon Slayer to train him so that he can fight demons and ultimately find a way to turn Nezuko back to normal. It’ll be a difficult journey since we don’t even know if a cure is possible and most people won’t trust her since she is a demon. Still, Tanjiro does not intend to give up and is ready to brave any hardship to protect her.

We get quite a lot of training initially and you can see why being a Demon Slayer is not something that just anyone can do. Most people simply wouldn’t be willing to train for years at a time risking their life in the process just to get a job that we don’t even know has a salary to risk your life against monstrous evils. Fighting demons has to simply be something you are very resolved to do. Otherwise it simply won’t work out. In fact we see this later on in the series as a lot of people either dropped out or didn’t have the proper motivation and got bumped off pretty quick.

I’ll quickly talk about the animation part right off the bat to get it out of the way. It’s exceptional as you would expect. One thing I really liked here was how the show gives all of the characters very distinct eyes. Eye colors have always been a fun anime thing and I really enjoy when titles go all out with it. For example Shinobu has very dead eyes which makes sense for such a mysterious character and then Tanjiro has two layered eyes which are cool. They just stand out. It’s a little harder to get this across in a manga although Slayer did that well there too. To date the best example of a manga doing something similar is Kaguya: Love Is War but for the most part you usually have to wait for the anime. The fight scenes are absolutely on point with Tanjiro’s battle against the spider creature getting a ton of hype back when it came out. You would see that one everywhere. The animation’s just very consistent and even small things like the little character heads for bumpers during the more comedic episodes were fun.

Naturally the soundtrack is also quite good. It really sounds like a Fate soundtrack to me at times with maybe a little Naruto on occasion. I wonder if Ufotable has some kind of jurisdiction over soundtracks so they have to have a certain style. It all works very well for the series though of course. You can expect a lot of high intensity tracks to be played during the fights really cementing how high the stakes are.

Naturally as mentioned the series can be incredibly violent. While I wouldn’t put it on the same level as Fate Zero, it’s probably right after Attack on Titan for being the third most intense series I’ve seen. Characters are blown up, ripped apart, and suffer catastrophic injuries over and over again. Since the demons can regenerate it isn’t always a big deal to them until they finally lose their head. The show isn’t afraid to just show all of this straight up. Naturally a lot of random civilians also get thrown into the crossfire and don’t quite make it.

Some of the demons have pretty twisted backstories as well. The Spider demon saga probably had the most moments like this even though it also had the most epic fights. The spider demon son who was the main villain for example would just rip another demon’s face off and liked to punish them with his whips. The father demon was also demented as he terrorized the others. It was an extremely warped version of a family and you would expect no less from a demon tribe. Still, those scenes are definitely quite dark. In the final episode we basically have Muzan crush and dismember a bunch of his demons to remind them of their place as well.

In such a world even the heroes are rather jaded to the point where you even have one of them stab Tanjiro’s sister a few times. Those scenes are pretty tough since it makes it hard for you to root for some of these heroes. It’s always good to see Tanjiro jump in to help out. He’s definitely a very solid protagonist in any medium. Nezuko also deserves a lot of credit for staying strong in these circumstances. The level of violence means I’d be recommending this to a very select crowd based on their tastes but overall it really does limit the show a lot because of how frequent it is. More realistically this wouldn’t ever make the list on my recommendations for anime viewers.

Season 1 covers a pretty good amount of content even going into the big Hashira meeting and through to the beginning of the Train section. As the train arc is getting a movie I figured the show would end with the heroes walking out of the house so it was nice that we got a bonus scene at the end here. It also makes for a good ending point with a fresh adventure on the way and the opening act stories completed. Lets turn the clock back a bit though and talk about some of the opening stories.

The first mini arc is Tanjiro’s entrance exam to becoming a Demon Slayer. To do this he must survive a few days in a deadly forest with a lot of demons. This is one of those tests where you feel like the proctors could probably keep an eye on things a little more. After all it turns out that a super powerful demon is around picking people off and nobody figured it out. Ah well, it’s fortunate for the demons at least. It worked well as a first big fight for Tanjiro and he got to show off his opening water breath techniques this way. By avenging all of the students who came before him, Tanjiro started off his journey on the right foot.

Then you have the arc where Tanjiro meets two demons who are on the side of good such as Tamayo and Yushiro. They were good allies to have around for sure. Yushiro may have given Tanjiro and Nezuko a hard time throughout but he was quite devoted to protecting Tamayo which is important. Tamayo’s mastery of medicines was also handy. In this arc the group is attacked by a pair of demons who can use a soccer ball and one who can control the direction you move in. These were definitely deadly opponents to fight and Susamaru had to be the standout villain of the series. She was really confident in her abilities and even fought Nezuko rather fairly in a battle of brawn with her kicks. Ultimately Nezuko was still getting stronger at this point so she wasn’t quite ready to win such a battle but she made it awfully close.

Susamaru’s partner isn’t quite as memorable but his attacks were great. Honestly it’s hard to see how this guy could be defeated once he gets the arrows on you. Tanjiro did a great job of surviving but that had to be one of the deadliest fights for him. If Susamaru had just kept the arrow going up it could have been the end. I assume he has some kind of ability limit which prevents him from doing so, however it’s still a great attack. This arc was a great showcase for Tanjiro and Nezuko to fight.

After that we have the arc with the house that is always changing rooms. Tanjiro and a guy he just met on the road named Zenitsu. This Demon Slayer is afraid of just about everything though so he won’t exactly be the most reliable ally to have around. The demon in charge of this mansion may not be the most powerful in a direct fight but he can cause the house to keep shifting gravity angles so if you jump at him you’ll suddenly find yourself going backwards or to the side. He can also shoot shockwaves at you while you’re disoriented. Fortunately the heroes have some backup with a guy named Inosuke who is another demon slayer in the mansion.

It was nice to get 3 different Demon Slayers at the ready here. The fight with the demon was also pretty solid here with a lot of dynamic visuals of having to get used to the place shifting so much. I imagine even the toughest of fighters would have some difficulty adjusting to such a thing. Initially Inosuke was definitely a very antagonistic member of the group though, going as far as being ready to destroy a fellow demon slayer in order to take down one of the demons. Tanjiro had to go in and teach him a lesson. It’s definitely a common theme here that Tanjiro has to headbut/punch people back onto the right path. Inosuke ends up being more of a regular hero after that.

Then we have the iconic mountain arc. A family of spider demons have been murdering a whole bunch of Demon Slayers and essentially own the mountain. It’s difficult to deal with them because they can use their strings to manipulate the movements of the slayers and force them to destroy each other. Additionally one of them has the ability to turn others into spiders and then you have a member with pure power. Tanjiro’s crew is sent over to help out and it’s quite a bold order if you think about it since they were sent in as backup for a group of much higher ranked fighters. Needless to say this isn’t exactly easy. The three of them get split up and all have to deal with their own opponents now.

It was a nice showcase for all of the fighters. Ironically Zenitsu is really the only fighter able to handle his opponent without help. I guess it goes to show that his thunder breathing is really good. The show also highlights the weakness of only knowing one style though. Then you have Inosuke’s battle which is pretty solid. He has his confidence shaken at one point but then recovers enough to attack. Ultimately it wasn’t enough for him to win but he put up a really valiant effort. Finally you have Taijiro who had the iconic fight that everyone was talking about with the final sequence. The fight’s definitely top notch with all of the speed and energy attacks going into it. Nezuko and Tanjiro also got to team up for that effort.

The spider arc is probably also the darkest one though with the origin of how the demon spiders came to be. You’ve got betrayal but also a whole lot of punishments within the ranks. Anyone who defies Rui really ends up getting punished. He shreds his own family of demons quite a bit. The flashback where he effectively takes off one of their faces is pretty brutal and he also puts Nezuko through a lot. At that point Tanjiro definitely knew he had to step in. Rui’s tactic of taking his own head off to prevent anyone else from doing so was a pretty smart idea though. We know that demons can’t destroy each other so it makes sense that if he delivers himself a fatal blow then it’ll be tough for anyone else to do so.

You can definitely be a bit sympathetic to some of the other demons. Particularly the mother one had a pretty tough road. The sister seems sympathetic initially but then she has the flashback where she betrayed another demon and you figure she’s more manipulative than anything. One of the standout scenes of the arc aside from the flashy Tanjiro fight is certainly when two members of the Hashira show up. It’s always hype when you see backup of this level. You only get to experience the first fight for an upper rank once so this was a great way to do it. Gyu and Shinobu show up to offer much needed support and also show how much stronger they are than the average fighter.

Giyu immediately shows why he is the best character in the series (At least as of season 1) here. He’s incredibly powerful but also very reliable. Giyu was quick to defend Tanjiro when it counted. He’s certainly a lot slower to jump to murdering everyone compared to Shinobu. Shinobu’s also a great character though. I appreciated her backstory of why she hides her emotions. Effectively she is trying to fulfill someone’s last wish even if she really doesn’t agree with it. Her style of combat is also unique. She’s quietly quite sinister at times with the demons and it’s hard to say if she would have even kept her end of the deal with her offer to one of the spider demons. Perhaps though, we’re also shown that she has a kind side so maybe if the spider demon had agreed to the terms she would have been okay. That said, I can’t see this demon being able to resist humans the way that Nezuko could.

Finally the show ends with the heroes training at Shinobu’s estate and also meeting up with the Hashira. Naturally a lot of these guys are all in for murdering Nezuko and don’t really want to listen to reason. Giyu appears to be the only reasonable one again, even having to step in to stop the snake pillar from crushing Tanjiro. These hero meetings are always pretty hype though because now we’re really getting to see the whole roster of top level allies. All of these guys will be important down the road that’s for sure. I was glad Tanjiro wasn’t standing for their attacks on Nezuko and quickly jumped in. Nezuko is definitely given quite a hard time being forced to restrain herself so often.

This was a nice way to end things. We essentially got a preview of the future here and the villains had a similar meeting. For contrast Muzan spent it slaughtering all of his members except for one who is given another chance. Compared to how the leader of the Slayers handled the meeting by building everyone up, it was quite the contrast to be sure. We also get a good training arc here and I would say Tanjiro once again proves to be at the front of the class with Inosuke and Zenitsu both throwing in the towel early on. You can’t be a quitter and expect to reach the same heights as someone who trained hard from the start. Tanjiro’s good deeds are always rewarded as the teachers were inclined to give him tips on how to be stronger due to this.

I didn’t really talk about the characters earlier so lets run through the main ones. Tanjiro is an exceptional lead as you would expect. He’s always a nice guy who is still resolute in his mission to take down the demons. He’s very quick to protect Nezuko as well as anyone else who is threatened as seen in the proctor exam when he stopped another trainee from threatening the overseer. Nezuko is also a very solid heroine. From the start she is able to restrain herself from eating humans which is huge and she is also quick to support Tanjiro in his more difficult fights. She is a demon after all so her abilities are quite solid even if Tanjiro tries to protect her from having to engage in these battles.

Zenitsu is pretty good at his role of comic relief but he’ll likely always pale in comparison to the other characters. He’s not exactly the most heroic guy to the point where he hesitates a lot and always waits at the back of the line. He’s not a reliable sidekick to have and he is a little too obsessed with every girl he meets. For those reasons I wouldn’t say he is a quality character. Inosuke on the other hand is pretty great. He’s a vicious fighter who doesn’t give up very often. Inosuke loves competing with Tanjiro and in this way he continues to hone his skills. I like his competitive attitude although Tanjiro pretty much never jumps at the bait which really works Inosuke up. He certainly helps the dynamic.

Then you have Kanao who will have a much bigger role in the future. As of now though she has a pretty solid role here as she starts off pretty emotionless but Tanjiro at least shows her the potential of unlocking her emotions. She definitely had a rough backstory though so it’s easy to see why she sealed her emotions off. At the time I’m sure that was very helpful so she wasn’t hurt as much as she would have been by the tough conditions. Tanjiro’s teacher was also a pretty reasonable character although I thought he did a particularly poor job at preparing Tanjiro for the road ahead. Some basic things like teaching him more about breathing for long periods of time or at least a heads up that all of the other students went missing so something may be going haywire at the school. Instead he basically left Tanjiro to his own devices and we learned later on that he partially just didn’t want Tanjiro to succeed. It’s easy to see why since he doesn’t want anyone else to die but it’s rough on Tanjiro.

Overall, Demon Slayer is definitely a pretty intense show. It has really high production values and a lot of hype moments. While the best fight has to be Tanjiro vs Rui, I would say the most hype moment of the show was when Giyu faced off against Shinobu since there’s nothing Tanjiro can really do there except hope that Giyu comes out on top. The pacing of the episodes are solid and it all goes through in a breeze. The show tends to go too far with the violence though so expect some intense scenes in virtually every episode. As long as you don’t mind thing getting a little violent then I can definitely see you enjoying this one quite a bit. If you love the concept but want something a little tamer then I’d say to check out Yu Yu Hakusho which also involves quite a bit of demon hunting while also throwing in some tournaments for good luck. It’s pretty unique that the show continues with a movie before presumably going back into show format so if you want to stay current then you’ll need to check out the movie.

Overall 5/10

Demon Slayer Review


It’s time to finally take a look at another review I’ve had on the backburner since 2020. With this one done I’ll finally have everything caught up to 2021 for the first time in well, I can’t even recall how long it’s been since I was caught up. Demon Slayer finished a while back with a pretty solid run of 200+ chapters. Whenever a big Shonen Jump title ends you can always look back at the series and appreciate how much it accomplished. Demon Slayer is definitely a solid title that I would definitely recommend.

The series begins with Tanjiro heading down the mountain on a pretty routine supply run. Unfortunately when he heads back up the mountain he finds out that his family have been murdered by demons. Only his sister Nezuko was able to survive and she has now been turned into a demon. She can no longer be out where there is sunlight and survives on humans. Fortunately she is an exception to the last part of the curse and is able to regain energy by sleeping. Unfortunately the Demon Corps don’t trust her and so Tanjiro has to take special care to protect her from all harm. His only chance is to find Muzan, the king of the Demons and get the cure from him. Can Tanjiro save Nezuko?

Along the way that does mean he will need to hone his skills and become a true Demon Slayer. The opening part of the series really doesn’t hold back with showing what a long process this is. He spends almost 2 years just training on using a sword and the opening breath techniques before going out there to fight with the demons. The opening storylines give us some opening battles and introduce Tanjiro into the grisly world of demons. From the start Tanjiro is a very likable main character. He’s determined to save Nezuko above all else.

He’s typically more of a peaceful guy but if anyone attacks her then he cuts loose. He’s also sympathetic to the people who have been turned into demons without hesitating at a crucial moment or doing anything that would put other people in danger which I think is important. It’s always pretty annoying if someone hesitates and then everyone gets injured as a result. Tanjiro never makes that mistake. His abilities continue to improve throughout the series and he always balances himself as a powerhouse who never forgets how he got there or his kind hearted nature. You can always count on him to be a solid lead.

Nezuko’s a very solid heroine. As Tanjiro’s sister she is always ready to step in and protect him. Her ability to resist the urge to eat people is also impressive especially considering how much a bunch of characters try to press the issue. As a demon her physical abilities are also very impressive and she comes in handy for a bunch of the fights. She may not be able to talk as a demon but she still has a lot of character just appears to be very heroic. She was always a lot of fun to have around.

Then we have the main villain Muzan. As the king of the demons you can imagine that he’s very powerful. He’s an interesting villain as he doesn’t tend to show malice towards humans as much as other demons. In a way you can say he’s always a lot harsher towards the demons as he destroys them with ease. For the humans he just does so automatically without thinking about it much. There’s a scene early on in the manga where he was even trying to walk away without destroying any humans but naturally they attacked him and kept bothering so eventually he just destroyed them. Muzan has a presence throughout the series and always looks very powerful right through to the end. He’s definitely a stand out character who has an intimidating presence.

The first really big battle I would say is with Susamaru, the soccer demon. She stands out with her superb strength. At the time it was pretty hard for anyone to stand against her. We also got to meet two demons who are actually good people in Yushiro and Tamayo. Tamayo was a solid healer and a good quality character. Yushiro may be a much meaner character but I do understand his life debt to Tamayo and why he is so dedicated to protecting her all the time. Susamaru’s partner is less memorable since the guy mainly didn’t do any up close battling but I do have to say that his ability to control movements through arrows is pretty great. If anything it’s almost a broken ability with how good it was. If the guy trained more then I think he would have done quite well here.

After that we get our first big arc with all 3 of the main characters. Tanjiro meets up with a scared soul named Zenitsu in the middle of the road and then heads into an ever changing mansion where a demon is going around murdering people. A fellow demon hunter named Inosuke has been trapped in here for a while as well. The three of them manage to beat the demons and we get to see all of their respective personalities. Inosuke is extremely into battles, Zenitsu avoids them like the plague, and Tanjiro fights because he has to, but not because he wants to. In that sense they all have a contrast there.

Inosuke is a fun character to have around. He’s always ready for a fight and is very confident in his own abilities. His unpredictable style also comes in clutch. He may not reach the heights that Tanjiro achieves and it’s rare for a rival to not be able to keep up from the start but he still fights well. He gets his share of hype battles and his final battle was also really solid. You can always root for this guy. The other main ally Zenitsu isn’t quite as spectacular. He’s always afraid of everything and can’t even fight until he’s asleep. He flirts with everyone and is the show’s main comic relief character so for the most part you can’t expect too much for him. He does get his moments by the end of course but he can’t keep up with most of the characters.

With the introductions out of the way the first big arc takes place in the forest. A group of spider demons have been causing general mayhem to the point where whole squads of demon hunters have gone to investigate but quickly vanished afterwards. It’s no surprise because these spiders are all pretty difficult. Effectively they form a very twisted family full of abuse and injury. Each character gets their own fight and we also get to see the Hashira fight seriously for the first time. You could say this definitely felt like the springboard to the rest of the series since we see what powers the heroes could hope to unlock in the future.

The Spider demons don’t seem to have names which is surprising with how big of a role they got, but they do leave an impact. They’re all quite twisted though. You’ll probably feel bad for the mother demon if anything since she seemed like the nicest one. I still get the feeling none of them could be trusted of course, but the son and father demons are definitely the most twisted of the batch. This was certainly the darkest arc at its time with all of these elements going on. I’m thinking it was to really contrast how different Tanjiro’s family dynamic is here. So I don’t like any of the Spider demons but their powers were solid.

Giyu is one of the Hashira and one of the best characters in the series. He suffers from low confidence at times despite his great skill but he consistently comes through when it counts. I appreciate that he is one of the only people to stick up for Tanjiro initially and always seemed a lot more heroic than the others. He also did really well in the final battles. I would rank him as one of the more powerful fighters. While I would say Rengoku is the strongest Hashira, Giyu has to be quite up there after him. He’s also my second favorite character in the series behind Rengoku. Giyu showed that the water breathing techniques are still very solid on their own since Tanjiro ultimately left the style.

Shinobu is another Hashira member. She’s far more ruthless than Giyu and goes all in with trying to murder every demon that she comes across. Ultimately this is the mission of the Demon Slayers of course and she has strong reasons to oppose them from her origin story. She was quite clever in deciding to use poisons to take down her opponents since her raw power was slightly under that of the other fighters. She has a lot of great moments throughout the series and with her steely resolve was also one of the better characters in the series.

From there we get to the next big arc involving a train. Technically there’s a little training arc before that which is good for development and such but no big fights there. Basically a lot of people have been vanishing from a train so Rengoku is sent along with the main 3 to put a stop to this. This demon won’t go down easy though as he’s one of the lower moons and can manipulate dreams. As solid as the main arc is, the ending part is definitely the highlight here as we see the first big upper moon fight with Akaza. Can the heroes stop him?

This arc is definitely a big standout one. For starters the Akaza vs Rengoku fight may very well be the best one in the series. It’s just an excellent fight between two of the best characters in the series. There’s a whole lot of back and forth here and it’s such a high level fight that nothing could compare with it for quite a bit with the skill levels here. Everyone got a part to play in the arc although Tanjiro was definitely a standout character for doing a ton of the legwork. Nezuko also has to take a lot of the credit because without her the heroes definitely would have been doomed.

Kyojirou Rengoku really made a name for himself in this arc. I would go as far as to say he became the best character in the series. His fire fighting style is epic and his personality is also very solid. He did everything he could for the Demon Corps and always handled his duty with pride. The guy was a tough fighter through and through. He had to go through quite
a lot of emotional battles in his origin but he always managed to pull through and also remain as a beacon of inspiration for everyone else.

After that Tengen gets his arc. Once again there are a lot of people vanishing. This time it’s at a nearby village so the 3 Demon Slayers go undercover to get to the bottom of this. The villain is another top member of the Upper 6 so the heroes will have to find a way to win this time around. Additionally the fact that the heroes have to go undercover will make things pretty difficult as well. While not nearly as good as the last arc we do get some solid fights here. I just remember thinking that I feel like going in disguise to the village seemed rather pointless. Was there really a reason they needed to do this to track intel instead of just rushing in there? I feel like that would be more efficient especially since we have a few members like Tanjiro and Inosuke who can sense demon’s presence when they are around. So that whole part felt like it was stalling for time and just putting people’s lives in danger. Fortunately they eventually see why this isn’t a good idea and jump into action.

So the arc got a lot better once the action went through. Daki was a powerful villain and easily one of the strongest at this part in the series. Her fighting style using clothing to block attacks was impressive. She has a prolonged battle with Tanjiro that also helped set the stage for Tanjiro to finally get on Hashiro level by using the fire arts. They really went back and forth a lot before Daki used her trump card of summoning her brother Gyutaro to help her out. It was nice to see a pair of demons with an actual bond this time around and this also gave the heroes multiple fighters to deal with. This also felt like one of the longer fights in the series for sure.

Tengen wasn’t one of the better Hashira though. He puts people into dangerous situations and just waits it out a while. His sheer strength also seemed to be on a lower level from Rengoku’s but to be fair it’s hard to reach that level. His resolve was lower than some of the others as well since he ultimately didn’t stick on the path. He’s a decent character and not the worst Hashira or anything like that but he definitely can’t compete with the best ones.

In the next arc we get some more training with Tanjiro as well as character development for Genya when the demons strike again. Hantengu is the next opponent and he has the ability to split himself into 6. Fortunately for the heroes they have several Hashira at the ready this time such as Muichiro and Mitsuri. Tanjiro has also improved his skills quite a bit so he is ready to help out as well which is good since this is certainly one of the more powerful demons.

I like that the arc really starts off quickly and from there the battles don’t cease. There is a ton of action in this one and all of the characters are pushed to the brink. It makes sense that the demons would take the offensive. If anything if they were to all attack at once then the Demon Slayers would have gone down really easily. They can’t hope to compete thanks to their limitations on stamina and such. By attacking all of the various swordsmen around the demons also did some lasting damage to the ability to summon backup. If anything it’s lucky for the heroes that the series was nearly over or else they would have really been feeling the pain. The arc essentially gets us over to the final one.

Genya got a lot of development here. He definitely wasn’t one of my favorite characters but I’ll say that he looked good here. He was certainly quite determined to help the Demon Corps out. So despite not having a lot of talent he found a way he could help through eating other demons. That’s definitely a lot of dedication and his backstory was certainly tragic as well. Kanao is another member who isn’t quite a Hashira yet but she does really well. From the start you can tell that her abilities are above that of an average fighter’s. She effectively trained Tanjiro and friends for a while after all.

She gets a full character arc to herself, a big battle in the final arc and even helps out in the climax. Kanao’s definitely a quality character so it’s always good to see her doing well here. By the end I would definitely rank her quite highly. Mitsuri also plays a role here. She’s decent but I would say she never really stands out. As a character Mitsuri is heroic and does her best to help out but doesn’t have a whole lot of depth beyond that. Her strength is also rather standard among the Hashira. She does have her moments to be sure but does end up getting outshined most of the others.

Muichirou also gets a big role here and he’s one character who had a solid arc. Initially he is more of a space case who can’t concentrate on anything going on but eventually Tanjiro helps to show him a more heroic path. From there he manages to reach enlightenment and becomes a real power hitter. He looks consistently good throughout the rest of the series and I would also say he proved himself to be one of the stronger members as he awoke before a lot of the others. The series does love to have its characters start out rather emotionlessly but in a world filled with despair and demons it’s easy to see why a lot of characters take that approach. Muichirou also has some memory loss as well so it makes sense that he wasn’t fully awakened for a while.

Then we make it to the final arc. Muzan finally unleashes a full assault against the Demon Corps. It’s him and the final members of the 12 Kizuki against Tanjiro’s crew and the remaining Hashira. The whole arc is essentially nonstop battles and I remember weekly liking the fact that it all started so suddenly. One second Muzan was just having a low key confrontation and the next second the whole cast was there ready to act. The stakes were high and of course the heroes know that if they take down Muzan the whole war is over. There’s no reason to wait. Of course Muzan is the strongest demon so they need the sunlight to beat him. Part of the tension is that they effectively have to fight all night.

The series does a good job of increasing the tension here as the heroes keep having to dig deeper and deeper to try and dredge up the strength to keep on fighting. It’s definitely difficult when your opponent can keep regenerating like this. That’s why poisons really came in handy here. In particular one character was instrumental in helping save the day. Sometimes brawn isn’t all you need to win in a fight after all.

Obanai is one of the Hashira who didn’t really get a full arc before now. He’s sort of like the one dragon slayer in Fairy Tail who didn’t get to do much. I wouldn’t say I particularly warmed up to this guy though. He’s one of the less impressive Hashira in general because he never really gets to show off his abilities. In the end it’s like he never ended up winning a really big battle. I was definitely glad when Gyu basically pushed him away from Tanjiro to show where that guy stands.

Then you have Sanemi who has to be the meanest of the Hashira. I’d put him as the worst one. He goes quite far. Now, I understand the case for destroying Nezuko since she is a demon but he goes as far as to try and murder Tanjiro as well as severely injure his brother Genya. By the end of the series he explains his rationale for this but it’s still way too drastic for you to buy into. He just takes things way too far. Still, the guy is undoubtedly a very strong member of the Hashira. He doesn’t get a whole lot of fight scenes but he makes his moments count to be sure.

Finally you have Gyomei. He is always crying which didn’t help him stand out for me. You can cry for emotional moments absolutely like Mega Man X or Naruto, but this guy is constantly tearing up which could be a bit much at times. I do like his unique fighting style though. Using the wrecking ball and scythe makes it difficult to predict his movements. He was even said to be the strongest Hashira. While I wouldn’t go that far, he does get a whole lot of hype during the battles which is well deserved.

One character who never gets to appear in the present but got a lot of hype was Yoriichi. It’s too bad because even by the end of the series it’s clear that he was the strongest character in the verse. He defied the very natures of reality and was able to take just about anyone down in a clean strike. You can see a lot of similarities between him and Tanjiro to be sure. He did get a proper flashback story and everything though so we learned all we needed to about him. He was definitely a fun character.

His story ties into Kokushibo’s. Koikushibo is one of the more impressive Kizuki members. His sheer swordplay and talent is quite crazy. While I would still say that Akaza was the most impressive fighter despite his lower rank, this guy would be my next pick for strongest. Not only was he holding back multiple Hashira members at once but he was doing so quite easily. I was definitely a big fan of this guy. He may have been one of those villains who ultimately ended up cracking but he definitely left an impact.

The second ranked fighter Doma is definitely a lot more on the twisted side. He doesn’t have an honor code like the others. In fact he has no emotions so he doesn’t even realize how twisted he is. I didn’t like the guy in the slightest. At least he did give us some pretty intense battles though. The guy was not an easy foe which makes sense since he got such a good rank. Then there’s Nakime. She isn’t really a fighter but her spatial abilities are so fierce that she still got a very good rank. She’s not someone you can hope to defeat very easily. I wasn’t a big fan but at least she was one villain so loyal to Muzan that he never even thought of destroying her. His whims change a lot though so I doubt she was ever truly safe.

Finally there is Kaigaku. He sort of comes out of nowhere but it made sense to have him so that every character would have an emotional matchup at the ready. His skills weren’t bad either but I have to say that he was easily the weakest from the upper Kizuki members. The fact that he could barely hold his own in a 1 on 1 fight definitely did not help his case. He had a great design though, certainly a memorable one.

Well, that takes care of most of the characters. There is quite a big cast here which is not surprising in the slightest. The series did last over 200 chapters after all. It’s a strong cast we got here. The writing is also on point and a really good thing is that the series really avoided fanservice pretty much entirely. There’s like one page out of the entire series which is exceptional. At the end of the day the series has really strong fundamentals.

I’d say the only thing holding it back from being in the upper echelons of Jump is that the series can get pretty over the top violent and dark with some of the backstories and events here. Because the series is about demons and demon hunters that means there is a lot of regeneration going on here so the wounds end up cutting pretty deep. Characters are constantly sliced to bits, even the humans tend to get pulled through the ringer. Some of these demons are quite demented as they behead each other for fun or go around ripping faces. Doma’s big entrance scene in the final arc for example is one of those disturbing moments along with his preference for eating. While the series is able to effectively create a very desperate environment for the heroes so you constantly feel the stakes, this is usually a side effect of that. A common theme here is you can win the day, but it will certainly come at a price.

Still, the overall epic nature of the series and quality fights keep the series at a solid level. You will have a blast reading through the arcs with all the battle scenes and wide range of characters. There’s a good amount of replay value here and it’s the kind of series you can definitely binge. It seems unlikely that we would get a sequel series unfortunately but at the same time I’d say there’s always a possibility for it. I’m sure Shonen Jump wasn’t happy to lose one of their big hitters that’s for sure.

The artwork is pretty solid here. The author isn’t afraid of having prolonged action scenes and keeping the quality of the art up. The characters are fairly distinct. The only times a character could be mistaken was Kanao with her two sisters but they are meant to look similar and they all have different head pieces to help distinguish them. The battles are top notch and the character designs are very memorable so the series did quite well here. The art for the humor scenes is also handled pretty well. The facial expressions the characters make is always memorable and distinct. The series is always able to shift gears rather quickly.

Overall, Demon Slayer was definitely a very intense title. It’s one of the few series where you really have a hard time knowing which characters will be safe by the end. Naturally you do expect a good chunk of them to live of course but where most characters might take out 1-2 big characters by the end this series wasn’t afraid to throw a few more in. At the very least I was surprised by 2 of the characters who didn’t make it out. With the whole regeneration angle the series is able to get a little more violent than a lot of the other big Jump titles and is closer to something like Titan than Bleach but a lot of times it is in a combat context. If you’re looking for a serious action title to read through with high stakes then this is definitely the one to check out.

Overall 7/10

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review


It’s been a long time since SHIELD started and quite a bit since it finished at this point. I’ve had the review on the backburner since November of 2020. The show certainly had its ups and downs over the years. It was always fun to have this show to look forward to each week either way and with over 130 episodes it lasted a while. I definitely won’t be forgetting it anytime soon. Grant Ward’s various appearances and basically coming back every season was always a blast. Maybe one day these characters will return. That said, I ultimately would not recommend the title due to some seasons just going a little too crazy.

The basic premise of the show is that there is a group known as SHIELD which has always protected the peace over the years. They do so from the shadows and nobody even knows they exist aside from all the big companies in the know. Agent Coulson is one of the highest ranked members. He was thought to be dead after the Avengers 2012 film but he managed to survive. The show begins with him assembling a new team of fighters. Ward, Skye, Fitz, Simmons, and also the experienced Agent May. Together they aim to stop Hydra and all other threats from infecting the planet. Season 1 is mainly about introducing the team and taking some grunts down first. The season ultimately ends with some big plot twists as well as an inside agent who was a traitor all along.

This was a solid way to introduce the cast. One of the more underrated scenes is when Garrett shows up with his team on the SHIELD base and we get some quick fights. Ward took care of his opponent while Coulson and Garrett had their talk. It was pretty tense and also cemented Ward as the most dependable guy on the team which helped make the twist more effective later. While teased a lot, I also like how they made sure to reference the Avengers in just about every episode. It was an effective way to remind people that SHIELD was in the universe even if later on it felt less and less like the show was actually canon.

Coulson is debatably the main character of the series although you can make an argument for Skye. He’s a very solid leader and does a good job of always making sure SHIELD is on the right path. It was nice seeing him get some power ups over the various seasons but for the most part he stayed as being a very normal down to Earth guy who was ready with the quips. He had a lot of the best lines in the series and always helped to add some levity to the situation. It just wouldn’t be the same without him.

Agent May is definitely the toughest member of the group. She is able to fight through serious injuries and never stops battling. Her nickname of being “The Calvary” may get old after the heroes mention it for the 50th time but season 1 was really about building up hype for all the characters so I suppose it makes sense. Her fairly emotionless approach to most scenarios was always fun. Her best moment is likely when she crossed over into another dimension to take out some powerful aliens in Season 6 and effectively had a time frozen fight to the death there. It was quite impressive.

Then you have Ward who is always super confident and charismatic. He tends to steal the show whenever he is around because the guy is so fun. While most of the other team members are either rookies or jaded retirees, Ward is just an excellent agent who is still in his prime. He’s skilled at everything he tries and that’s why he is always the person people turn to. How many characters are able to consistently get hype as a hero, villain, cybernetic copy, and alien in the same series? Whenever Ward shows up you know something is about to go down.

That said, there was one scene with Ward that I found ironically funny as soon as it happened. So in the series there are 3 people who are extremely determined to protect Skye. First you have Coulson who really sees her as a daughter figure. You have Calvin who is actually her father and so his goal is to protect her at any cost. Then you have Ward who is obsessed with Skye and wants to protect her in his own twisted way. All 3 of these characters have a good amount of hype and skill so you figure they can handle anything right? Well, there’s one scene where Skye gets threatened so all 3 of the hype characters pull out their guns only for Whitehall and his crew to take out bigger guns so they surrender.

That to me was the funniest scene of the entire series. To have all 3 of these characters just immediately surrender to a bunch of guys with guns was hysterical. It was certainly tough for the heroes before the era of them all getting their powers that’s for sure. As for Skye, she definitely gets a whole lot of development across the various seasons. She starts out as a timid rookie and eventually becomes a confident rebel. In the final season she even actively makes the choice to murder one of the villains against orders. Specifically, she ordered someone to murder a villain though so she didn’t get her hands dirty in that scene but she takes out her share of enemies.

Once she became Quake, Skye became one of the most powerful SHIELD agents which is impressive. The fact that she can conceivably destroy the planet is pretty impressive. So Skye’s a good character but I do think she uses her powers rather poorly. She should be winning just about every fight and yet most times she forgets she has powers or uses them way too late. There are so many times where she is defeated and you have to shake your head. When you have impressive abilities like that you really just need to fight to the end and keep on going. Personally, I think she just didn’t train enough.

Then we get to the worst member of the group Fitz. Fitz is just extremely annoying from day 1. His personality is your standard science guy who is really smart academically but doesn’t do well socially. After he gets betrayed by Ward he loses a lot of his mental functions for a while so it takes multiple seasons until he is back to normal. You can try to make the case that this is why it was so easy for him to turn to the dark side but there is still no excuse for this. Fitz is very easily turned on multiple occasions. He is often okay with taking the easy way out such as sacrificing a few to stop an attack. He goes as far as to perform tortures on his teammates and the guy never properly gets any real repercussions for this. By the end of the series you can’t look at him without thinking that you are just flat out looking as a villain. Fitz is not a true hero as far as I’m concerned. His romance plot with Simmons also drags on over and over again and often times Fitz is tempted to forsake his duty as an agent for this.

Unfortunately Simmons is pretty much just as bad. When we find out that Skye has powers Simmons is very quick to say that the lead should be destroyed. There is no mind control here or anything like that. Simmons just jumps right into drastic territory because she thinks the risk is too great. The fact that she was willing to betray her friend so easily was just crazy. Then you have the whole destiny thing where she and Fitz delude themselves into thinking that they are immortal so nothing can go wrong in the present. That’s why pretty much any scene with these two can be painful. They’re just bad characters.

Fortunately we had some extra agents in Hunter and Bobbi who were far better even if their screen time is pretty limited. Hunter doesn’t take things too seriously and you could say he isn’t even all that heroic. Mainly he’s here for Bobbi. He still makes a lot of mistakes of his own though. When we meet the “Real SHIELD” lets just say that things get shaken up. That said, It made for a really cool cliffhanger to suddenly have a whole other group around. I would have been fine exploring that plot for a while longer to be honest because there is a whole lot you can do with that.

Bobbi also stands out as a quality character. One of her better scenes is when an alien warrior shows up and just easily crushes the main cast. Bobbi goes up against him in round 2 again facing certain defeat but doing so to buy a little more time. She’s a talented fighter and doesn’t even like combat but is always willing to stand back in the fray. It’s too bad she wasn’t around to fight more. Next up is Mack who gets a pretty big role by the end of the series. I wasn’t a fan of his though.

Mack’s main issue is that he’s not good with power. He panics a whole lot and starts yelling at the team for no real reason. When the going gets tough in the final season he literally just quits even though he has a responsibility as Director and just gets out of there. Then he gets depressed and shuts everyone out for over a year. You can’t be making these kinds of mistakes when you’re leader or you’re just putting everyone in danger. That’s why I could never support his rise to leader, especially when May or Skye would have done a much better job.

Lincoln is one of those guys who joins up but you feel like it’s just so he can have a romance with Skye. Given that there are other guys around who will last longer that means he was doomed from day 1. Lincoln was reasonable I guess but he doesn’t leave a huge impact. His electric powers were cool though and he did defy the Inhumans at times so I’ll give him credit there. Radcliffe is one of those villains who’s around a little more for comic relief at times. He’s a super genius given that he was able to build Aida and he usually comes out on top with his plans. He evaded SHIELD for years after all. He’s a fun enough villain and has some humorous moments even if he doesn’t really get to go in the field a whole lot.

We got some guest stars early on in SHIELD even if they wouldn’t return for long. Nick Fury’s scenes in season 1 were a lot of fun. It helped really make Agents of SHIELD feel like a big deal at the time. Maria Hill also got to appear and she’s a capable general as always. One of the more surprising appearances had to be Lady Sif. She gave us a fun episode even if Ward was mind controlled a little too easily. I like to think he wouldn’t fall for that. While not a guest star, we also had Agent Triplett show up for a brief time. Unfortunately he didn’t last very long but I did like the guy while he was around. He was always very enthusiastic about the mission.

Back to bigger members, Yo-Yo is easily the most powerful SHIELD member. She has legitimate super speed. Now, she does have a drawback where she has to return to the spot where she bounced from each time. That is a pretty big weakness but with her speed it shouldn’t matter. Of course that means that the show has to make her look bad a lot of the time so she doesn’t end the fight quickly each time. She can be a fun member for the most part despite this. It’s just tough for speedsters because they always have to be nerfed at some points.

Deke is a character who started out okay and then really jumped up the ranks. He had to survive in a pretty dark future and that showed his determination. Once he was in the present with everyone else he was able to have a blast just enjoying all the little things. He started his own company and had the catchiest theme in the whole show. It was always a lot of fun to see him even if the rest of the cast treated him horribly the whole time. At times it was for comedy and at other times the heroes were just jealous of his success. He took it all in stride though, even wishing Skye well despite his one sided romance for her not working out well for him.

One character who joined the crew late and definitely was not that good was Daniel. He is here from the Agent Carter show and managed to become a main character by the final season but he’s just annoying. Another one of those guys who panics a lot and he also got over Agent Carter awful fast to rebound with Skye. While it can be nice to have someone from the old days here marvel at all the new stuff I was just never able to get on board with him. I’d prefer if Deathlok had returned. He had some fun appearances early on in the show and was a good fighter to have on hand. His role was ultimately not very large though.

Garrett was one of the first big SHIELD villains and he did really well. The guy has a lot of connections and is really good at strategy. He had some solid one liners as well so he’s pretty memorable. I thought he was better than Malick who is a similar kind of villain but won’t leave as much of an impact on you. Now Raina was a villain you don’t forget. She loves to hear herself talk and is constantly making speeches. That said, despite being able to see the future and knowing a lot, she ultimately doesn’t fare too well here.

Calvin was an interesting villain seeing as how he’s Skye’s father and all. He has a pretty tragic backstory with what happened to his wife. You kind of hope he’ll take down Whitehall real quick but that guy is just a little too tricky most of the time. At least Calvin was always interesting though and you could definitely understand his motives. I wasn’t really a fan of Whitehall though. He’s just another old scientist here to cause some havok. We’ve seen it all before.

Season 2 features the destruction of SHIELD thanks to the events of the Captain America: The Winter Soldier film. Coulson is now the Director of SHIELD and things are as busy as ever. For starters a race of beings known as the Inhumans have begun appearing everywhere. These guys have a lot of fantastic powers and now every group wants them such as Hydra and AIM. In particular a man named Whitehall is quite intense about grabbing them all and running live experiments until he can perfect a way to use their powers. It turns out that Skye also has some ties to the Inhumans as well. Can SHIELD really keep this under wraps or are we about to get a war between humans and Inhumans?

You could say season 2 is when we really started embracing the comic book nature of the show more. Inhumans are a nice segway because they have powers but are fairly normal otherwise. The annoying thing about this is always that the Inhumans initially aren’t looking for trouble despite their tough talk and are taken down pretty quick. It’s why you send to see a lot of people acknowledging that Magneto has a point while Xavier’s wish for world peace goes on as mutants keep being captured and destroyed. Inhumans are effectively very similar to mutants if you think about it and are hunted a lot as well. Black Bolt doesn’t really get to weigh in here compared to his mini series though. This season was a lot more violent than the first one as Whitehall keeps going back to his scientific roots. In effect it’s why you always get worried when someone has regeneration because you know they are going to end up using that ability quite a lot as Jiaying had to.

Jiaying plays a pretty big role here as the leader of the Inhumans or at least this branch. Her healing abilities are really good but in a way this is just bad news for her since it means the villains can exploit this for quite a while. That said, I wasn’t a big fan either way. She just didn’t seem to have any plans for the long term survival of the Inhumans which is not good. Eventually of course things were going to go sideways. Gordon was a dependable right hand man. His teleportation ability was also really solid. He’s a likable guy. Gordon may not always watch his back too closely but without him the Inhumans wouldn’t have lasted nearly as long as they did.

Then you have a pretty interesting villain in Lash. Lash is so powerful that most of the Inhumans couldn’t last very long against him at all. It would take several just to try and bring him down. He’s pretty much a creature of mindless rage and he’s at his best when you don’t know his identity. The show really allows this guy to go all out and get a lot of hype so I appreciated that. Even the design was pretty unique.

The third season brings The Hive into the fold. Hydra has brought him around to cause chaos and he is basically a king of unlimited power. Naturally he decides to use Ward’s body so we have the guy around once more. His powers are pretty impressive and naturally this is bad for the Inhumans since he can effectively use a lot of abilities. Coulson wants to use the Inhumans for good as always and strikes a deal with Rosalind and her government group. She’ll stop capturing Inhumans for nefarious purposes and he’ll share data. This truce threatens to compromise both sides though and causes a lot of tension within the ranks of SHIELD.

As soon as Ward was back it’s hard not to get hyped since he’s always a blast. Of course in this one he’s here completely as a villain at this point trying to get revenge on Coulson. I was not a fan of Coulson’s partnership with Rosalind from the start though. You can’t make deals with villains like that and by all accounts she was totally a villain with all the kidnapping and such. You can’t just pull all of that and hope to get away with it. With this deal she would basically get away completely free. It was a pretty reasonable season. I would say it wasn’t as big in scope or new ideas as the first two seasons but the Hive had to be the strongest villain yet. From all of the seasons this one blends together the most because there were quite a few episodes here so it’s not like it was literally all Ward but he’s easily the most memorable part of the whole thing.

As mentioned Rosalind wasn’t very impressive. I just didn’t like her as a character from the start and she never really got better after that. She’s basically just another government agent. We got to see more of two SHIELD Agents Piper and Davis who would have bigger roles later on. Needless to say, I was not a fan of these characters. They just don’t really add anything to the story or dynamic. You could cut them out and nothing would have changed. I would say the best way to think of them is like getting two red shirts from Star Trek but then giving them an entire plot line and lots of extra appearances for some reason. No matter how often they appeared they were never impressive.

The Hive was an impressive villain as mentioned. I mean to a good extent he just felt like Ward but he does have a different personality in the end. He was certainly more ruthless. Then you had Hellfire who was another villain around but not nearly as powerful. The guy’s basically just a traitor who sells out and ultimately doesn’t realize that in the end the Watchdogs will take him out as well. His flame powers are good though. Elemental abilities are always fairly high tier because there is so much you can do with them.

In the fourth season the gang begins to tamper with forces beyond their comprehension like the Ghost Rider. The group heads out to find him but he’s busy tracking other villains down. The Ghost Rider is effectively a spirit of vengeance using a human host that appears from time to time to carry out a mission and then leave just as suddenly. Naturally this is a big burden on the human involved. We had some nice ghost type fighters to go up against him and the effects for his flames were pretty solid. We also have some drama within Shield as the Patriot takes over in Coulson’s place and quickly starts to become a very shady individual. That’s why you have to be careful when turning down a position to someone else. Coulson didn’t want to be leader and now it could come back to bite him.

Additionally we have the Framework appearing here. In this other world everyone’s lives are a little bit different which includes a completely evil Fitz as well as a powerful android known as Aida. This just helps to cement Fitz as one of my least favorite characters as we see just how close to being evil he is. You could cut him some slack if this was just in the framework but lets just say this isn’t the last we’ve seen of evil Fitz. This was definitely a very intense season. I liked Aida though, she’s one of the most memorable villains to be sure. She got a pretty bad deal by the end as Fitz basically just used her. She was a villain of course but you still felt like Aida deserved better. Her abilities were absolutely crazy as well so you could say she was one of the strongest characters in the series. You also can’t go wrong with Ghost Rider of course. He’s always a pretty fun character to have around and the heroes are lucky to have him and his powers at the ready.

Ghost Rider just helped give the heroes a lot of muscle and came through when it counted. His host here was also solid as he was always ready to fight. Things were certainly personal for him after all and he made sure to get a whole lot of revenge on the heroes. As for the Patriot, I did not like him. The guy was given a good position and then squandered it on a power trip. He had every opportunity to be a great character but at the end of the day he definitely did not live up to it. I have to take away a lot of points from him as a result. He just could have been so much better so it was a shame that he couldn’t live up to this. The way he went out also wasn’t super impressive.

Enoch is a character who would end up having a massive presence in the series. He is a Chronicom from the future so he is always prepared. He tends to be a pacifist and has a hard time understanding human customs but gradually he becomes proficient at it. He also has a lot of solid humor scenes. I would argue the final season gives him a little too much hype with being able to take down the entire SHIELD group. It’s hard to picture that in the slightest but he is tough. Also, without his planning the team would have died many times over. He’s like the Watcher only at least he actually helps out.

The Superior is another big villain who showed up. I like the fact that he realized how Coulson was always popping up from the dead and why he may be responsible for everything. He wasn’t correct of course, but I would say that it’s a reasonable interpretation of events at its face value. I also liked his determination to solve everything as a human and win with his own two fists instead of taking any shortcuts. He’s the kind of villain you don’t forget very quickly.

We finally get time travel in the 5th season. The heroes are transported to the year 2091 where naturally humanity has fallen. The Earth was destroyed and a bunch of Kree rule most of the universe. The heroes are onboard the “Lighthouse” and have to find a way back to the past. Additionally Fitz is somewhere in this timeline, or at least a version of him is. He’s currently working with Enoch and eventually the two plots collide. Once the heroes are back home they have to figure out a way to prevent the Earth from being destroyed and averting this disastrous future. It’ll be difficult but Talbot feels he is up to the task.

This season went the most all out in a lot of ways. Having almost the whole season take place in space was pretty crazy and we even had effectively a tournament as Skye and Yo Yo were forced to face off against other villains. Having a villain group with the powerful Ruby also helped to up the tensions. The stakes were quite high in this season although at times it would also get pretty dark here. The future is pretty hopeless with Kasius in charge after all so everyone either becomes a slave or is quickly taken out of the picture. Talbot being tortured for ages while the heroes were having fun in space was also rough. It’s easy to see how he came off the deep end in the second half.

I enjoyed his battle with Skye a lot though. It felt like something out of Supergirl with the characters flying around and getting things pretty high tier. For the most part despite having characters with super powers you couldn’t expect to see big meta human battles like this. Talbot may have become a big villain but at the end of the day I’m still a big fan. He was an interesting villain which is always important and with his powers I do think he would have been in good position to protect the Earth. With Thanos referenced it would have been fun if he had stepped in to fight for a while.

Tess is one of the survivors in the crazy timeline and she did well to survive. She’s got her own connections and always has a gameplan. While Tess may not stand out a whole lot next to Deke, she did well. Flint was another survivor who did well and the fact that he had some basic rock powers was cool as well. He’s a little young so there wasn’t a ton he could do but every bit helps. Kasius is the big villain here but he’s not likable in the slightest. He’s one of those villains more worried about romance and wanting more power than actually having plans. He would tend to just be annoying most of the time getting emotionally involved with his past and rambling a lot of the time.

Sinara was a solid villain though. As Kasius’ right hand woman she was always ready to fight. Her techniques were fast and lethal leaving no margin for error. Serious villains like that always tend to work well because they are focused on achieving their objective and that’s it. Sinara did really well. Likewise I enjoyed Ruby. Her disc throwing abilities were quite potent. I also liked her confident the whole time. She may have been manipulated a whole lot during the show but she’s a villain who really stood out. Ruby may not have seemed evil with her personality but she was ruthlessly butchering all of her opponents so you can’t go easy on her either.

Season 6 breaks the team up into two groups. One group heads into space for a lot of adventures while they look for Fitz who is once again missing across the timestreams. This tends to be the more lighthearted plot as the heroes go to a bunch of different planets. Every place is pretty different. Then you have the ground plot where a guy named Sarge who appears to look just like Coulson is running around. As Coulson should be dead by now the heroes are upset to see this lookalike. Sarge is saying some crazy things about surviving a lot of destroyed planets so the heroes need to get some answers out of him before Earth is put on a 1 way trip to oblivion.

The space adventures were okay but I think most of the intrigue and suspense here was with the Sarge plot. There’s a lot of fun mysteries here like what his whole deal is and how he relates to Coulson. There’s a lot you could do with his whole world hopping thing as well and seeing Coulson as a villain was just surreal. It was always fun to have him around. The rest of his crew was mostly forgettable but Sarge stands out. That said, I do think he didn’t handle some plot twists well as he was quick to forget his grudge. I would have liked him to keep his Sarge personality through and through.

It does make for a good climax though and the arc is just exciting from start to finish. We even got a bunch of monsters running around. Meanwhile Izel made for a great space villain though. Her humming was fairly iconic and she made for a solid mastermind. This isn’t her first rodeo as she’s been taking planets down for ages. I’d be very close to saying that she is the best villain in the show. I won’t go quite that far but she can hold her own with any. Her ability also helps to make her one of the most powerful ones though as she keeps on controlling people. She could have easily finished off the main characters so many times you’ll lose count. With great power comes a lot of holding back though. Her fight in the realm of the dead was also a lot of fun.

That brings us to the final season which involves a ton of time travel. The Chronicoms have decided to eliminate SHIELD by destroying them in history. The team will now have to keep jumping to different eras in time in order to keep up with them. The difficult thing here is that the Chronicoms always appear to be a step ahead. Additionally the heroes manage to grab onto Daniel Sousa so now they’re at risk of changing time. Still, the villains changed time first so does it all even out? Each episode is a reference to a different movie or show and we also get a lot of crossover elements here to really cement this as the final season. The gang’s together for one last ride and then it’s all over.

SHIELD did a good job of really throwing in as many elements as possible here. We got to relive all of the seasons to an extent and got some extra closure for each character like Skye getting to see her Mom again. The best episode here was probably the time loop. I could watch films and shows about that concept for ages. I’m a pretty big time travel fan so elements like loops and paradoxes are just a lot of fun. It was a fitting way to end the saga at long last and this was just a really solid season. It would have been nice to see Deathlok, Hunter, and Bobbi are they feel like the only big characters that the season was missing. We did still end up getting just about everyone though so I was definitely still satisfied in the end.

Nathaniel Mallick is one of the big villains here. You could make the case behind him being the main villain over Sibyl but they’re both about 50/50. With his sonic powers at the ready he makes for a pretty big threat in the season. I would say at no point do you think he could seriously beat Skye in a 1 on 1 fight but unfortunately she tends to turn her back during battle a whole lot and just underestimate everyone. This really ends up leading to her downfall at times. He’s not really my kind of villain. The guy whines a whole lot and doesn’t really seem to know when he’s being manipulated. He just talks with a lot more confidence than you would expect considering his lack of power but I guess relative to most of the case he is pretty tough.

John Garrett shows up again and I have to say I liked this new version of him quite a lot. The guy can teleport now and has endless confidence. He returns every one of Coulson’s subtle digs and one liners with a counter of his own which is nice. You want to see a villain be able to dish it out like that. This whole thing is more of a game to him compared to the others though so he does panic a bit when things are coming to the end. I still have him as the best villain in the season though.

Sibyl has a big role of course but you can’t help but feel that she ruined everything for the villain. The Chronicoms have time travel at their disposal and crazy high tech options. Why couldn’t they just blow up the planet or something like the hunters suggested? Sibyl kept saying that they had to follow her plan exactly since she can see the future but at the end all that did was put the villains in a bad spot time and time again. Things would have been a lot better if they had just ignored her. So she’s a fun villain but she overthinks everything.

Finally we have Kora, but she was not very good. My main issue with her is that she was very wishy washy about which side to be on. She was quick to turn evil and then to turn around again and again. She also wasn’t very smart with how she handled her final scenes. I remember in one cliffhanger when she hugged the villain a lot of people were waiting for her to suddenly stab him or something but then it just never happened. There’s a lot more the series could have done with Kora if you ask me. I liked her confidence and swagger, she just never followed up on it.

Naturally there are a bunch of other characters in the series overall but these are at least a bunch of the big ones. With 130+ episodes it makes sense that there’s time for a lot of them. Especially since as a live action series the episode lengths are double that of a normal show so this is more like reviewing something that’s 260 episodes long. It’s still quite impressive that it lasted so long. In general that’s just quite the feat. I also thought the show wrapped up quite nicely with the final season. They had a lot of fun with it and explored some nice concepts.

So at the end of the day, why does this show lose out? Well, in particular with the earlier seasons like 2-4, the series decided to get really gritty. You had characters being tortured numerous times, surgery on screen while the character is still conscious, and things like that. The show liked to make the villains appear as big threats by making them as evil and sinister as possible. It’s just the way the show would usually handle this. So it would go for being violent as well as dark/tragic. I would say in the final seasons, especially the very last one this got dialed back a bit but there would be moments like this in every season. You were never truly going to escape the violent nature of the show. Even the final season had the buzzsaw robots which were incredibly over the top to the point where it was more of a spoof than anything.

In that regard Agents of Shield is a show that’s more like Attack on Titan. It’s entertaining while watching it but it can never escape the core issues that doom it to a low score. Typically if you’re a long running title your odds of surviving moments here and there are increased because you can have so many positive moments that you drown out the bad ones. For example, if you’re only 13 episodes and have a horrible episode, that will hurt more than having 8 bad episodes out of 136. It’s all relative of course and you hope that even at its worst a show will never go bottom of the barrel. Shield never gets awful I would say but what hurts is the frequency of these moments. It got to a point in some seasons where you could expect this to happen every episode. I recall Whitehall’s season being the most violent at least back in the day. The Inhumans and the whole cyber season could be up there too though.

So violence is the main thing against the show. In a combat setting you can give it a bit more leeway but when you get to the torture and non combatants being thrown into this then it gets to be a bit much. On a much less severe note, the show also has a ton of rebound romances as it goes on. Throughout the series you can’t possibly take any romance seriously because of how they keep shuffling. Skye had affairs with Ward, her tech co-worker, Deke, and Lincoln at the very least. I think that was it at least. May had Coulson and Ward, but I could swear there is a third guy in there somewhere. Then you have Yo-Yo going with Mack as well as some other guy although I forget that expendable’s name. Simmons was with Fitz and some random guy she met on the moon, etc. Basically everyone in the show tends to be quick to fall for multiple characters so even by the end when they presumably find their true romance you may roll your eyes at that.

The Fitz and Simmons plot gets a ton of screen time for example and I can never buy into it. I mean, it doesn’t help that both characters are some of the worst in the series though. Fitz and Simmons continued to surprise me with how bad they were the whole time. Each season would bring them to a new low and they both had a similar plot line of going off the deep end. I suppose they match up in that sense but yeah I definitely was not feeling this story from start to finish.

It’s usually most convenient for guest stars since they don’t have time for more than one. For example at least Hunter and Bobbi always stayed consistent. It was definitely sad to see them go since they did add a lot to the team’s dynamic while they were there. So Agents of Shield can’t really get away from the romance angle and there’s a whole lot of it. I gather that’s pretty much a requirement for live action shows or pretty much most shows in general but with such a long running direction then it’s bound to add up after a while. The writing was usually pretty solid though. We got a lot of nice interactions during the show and pretty quality one liners. It’s pretty fun to see the first episode of the show again and then compare it to the ending. I ended up checking out the very first two episodes again just to see the contrast. The show started out very upbeat and fairly low key with a lot of practical effects and everything was down to earth. Then by the end you have the heroes hopping across dimensions and all having super powers so it was really quite the journey. It feels pretty natural as you go through though.

I would say the show is at its best when the gang is having fun with some solid action scenes thrown in which is why I would probably put the first and last seasons as the best ones. Still, it did a good job of shifting genres for each impending threat. The show also did a good job with the season cliffhangers. Each season would usually end with something crazy like the reveal of a new director or a cutaway to the far future where everything has gone crazy. It always made for a pretty hype way to await the next season. Good cliffhangers are always crucial for a long running title like this.

Overall, Agents of SHIELD is one of the only long running live action series that I’ve watched from start to finish. Aside from The Office, Ultraman, and Agent Carter I can’t think of any completed series where that is the case. I’ve seen a ton of episodes for old classics like Twilight Zone, Odd Couple, and I Love Lucy but not in a start to finish kind of thing. It’s pretty rare in general and I’m definitely more of an anime/cartoon guy but live action titles definitely have their own charm. With today’s effects they can basically be like watching a movie that just keeps on going and going. I wouldn’t be able to recommend the show myself as there are too many moments where you’ll be shaking your head. If you like watching the Marvel films though and want something to binge through as 2021 continues to roll then this is a pretty good option. It gets quite a bit darker than the films but there’s also a lot of light hearted episodes and comedy thrown in so that may balance it out. It should definitely last you a while even at top speed.

Overall 3/10

Megaman X2 Review


Megaman X returns for another adventure in this sequel. It was also pretty fun playing through it because right now I’ve been playing through X2 on the Gamecube collection release. The manga really has a lot of incredible attention to detail here with the boss attack patterns and even a lot of little things about the levels like minions and such. It’s really cool what they have done with this series and I would even say X2 surpasses the original here.

The basic plot is that with the mavericks down for the count X was hoping he could rest a bit. Unfortunately that is not the case as more and more robots as going crazy. It would appear that either Sigma has returned or a new puppet is pulling the strings. X really doesn’t want to fight anymore. He leads a squad of maverick hunters but refuses to take out his buster or fight at all. When his squad is brutally murdered X is forced to step back into the fray. He intends to destroy all of these mavericks so he can bring us back into a world of peace.

You have to feel bad for X because it feels like no matter what he does, the world continues to grow worse and worse. As soon as X has saved the world it only takes a moment for things to go off the rails. Additionally the villains insist on making it personal. In the first chapter we have a maverick pose as a friend and then slaughter everyone before X can stop him. Part of why X is always wracked with guilt is because it seems like he is never in time to save everyone. This incident is really no different. Once again, everyone is being destroyed here. Just in the X2 manga there are at least 10 different people who get murdered before X can save them. You can add a few hundred to that if you count background characters when the mavericks are blowing up cities.

The manga continues to go all in with the disturbing visuals as well. X gets taken to a mystical graveyard at one point where he has to watch reanimated corpses of the X1 bosses just walking around. You have a trippy dream where X’s legs disappear and then reappear while Zero’s upper body is floating around. Then there’s the fact that X even sees his future death. Naturally these visions aren’t real and it’s all just here to psych X out and get him too shaken to fight back. X does a good job of seeing through these attempts. By now X has really come to terms with his mission as a hunter. He still does get very emotional and there’s at least one time where he thinks about giving up but ultimately he’s always someone you can count on.

X is put through the wringer here with a ton of injuries so it’s good that he was built to always be able to power up. Otherwise I don’t think this would have gone very well for him at all. X is really the only main character this time. Dr. Light appears as a hologram a lot to give pep talks and such but it’s not like he’s around to really help. Zero was presumed dead after the events of the first game although of course if you’re familiar with the game’s story then you’ll know if this is true or not right away but the villains quickly take this out into the open since they brainwashed him. I will say the villains are ready to use everything at their disposal here as always and are familiar with reanimating corpses. One of the big 3 villains is even presumed to possibly be Dr. Wily but that was never confirmed.

The three generals make for a good villain group to give X some trouble outside of the main villains. It was also a really good fight. You don’t get to see a whole lot of 3 v 1 fights so they’re always a lot of fun to see. That means X would need to have a lot of good strategies at the ready or he would be blown away. Each of these fighters are quite tough. Compared to the first game adaption it is fair to say that these villains get a little less character. Most of them are just straight up evil so they are just here to toy with X. In the first manga some of the mavericks either weren’t evil or were getting manipulated so this time they’re a little more one note. The villains are all still pretty fun though. I like how they handled the Moth maverick’s transformation here. As a junk bot the maverick was still tough but naturally transforming made a pretty huge difference.

Sigma’s role here is fairly brief but he looks good. I always liked the Wolverine type design they were going for here with the claws. He has a lot of speed so this makes for a pretty climactic battle with him, X, and Zero. His final plan was actually quite good. If not for some last minute magic which was a bit cheesy, he would have really had this one in the bag. Better luck next time I suppose but X and Zero are always ready. Zero also looked pretty good here. He lasted quite a while against great odds. He may not have been in his right mind for most of the series but he struggled quite well to regain control. Additionally his evil form also looks quite sharp. Zero works well as either a villain or hero. I do look forward to him supporting X from the start in X3 though.

It goes without saying but the artwork here is quite excellent. The battle scenes are very dynamic and the whole time you are pretty hyped for each battle. With 3 volumes here there is a good amount of time given to each battle. Expect each maverick to put up a fair fight so nothing is done with too quickly. The pacing is really on point here and the series also has a lot of replay value. It’s all just done really well and I look forward to checking out X3. So far each series continues to be one volume longer and this one is no exception as it will be 4 volumes this time around. All I can say is the more the better so this sounds really good to me.


Overall, Megaman X2 makes for a great adventure. it’s not surprising in the slightest though since the X games were always known for having a pretty good plot. Right from the start those games would always add a lot to the lore. In that sense the series always differentiated itself from the classic incarnation. X will always rank as one of the best versions of the franchise for that reason because the whole thing is just very grand scale. If you haven’t checked this one out yet then I would definitely recommend it. Where else are you going to get such quality Megaman action?

Overall 8/10

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy Review


The first Jedi Knight game may not have been all that impressive but how about the sequel? Well, you’ll be glad to know that Jedi Academy is a big improvement. This game focuses more on the combat elements of the series so you don’t have to worry about puzzles and mysterious levels anymore. The game can still be challenging but in a straight forward combat sense instead of just tricking you the whole time with a lot of extra elements. It’s why Jedi Academy really ends up succeeding in a big way.

The game starts by introducing us to Jaden. He’s a promising new recruit who was even able to build his own lightsaber which is pretty much unheard of. He’s looking forward to learning a lot at the academy. Things are a little more tense than expected though as someone broke into Luke Skywalker’s computer records and we have reports of Dark Jedi attacking temples. The main goal will still be for Jaden to learn new skills of course but in the meantime he will also have to be on the lookout as well now. He really can’t afford to let his guard down or things could get ugly.

Right from the first cutscene you’ll probably be thinking that one of the other students is fishy though. There’s this one guy who tries to be your friend right away and is awfully pushy. He’s also very quick to talk bad behind the teacher’s back so he’s not someone that you want to get involved with. Additionally he even came close to accidentally murdering Jaden during the very first training mission. Needless to say, he never gets better.

Jaden is a good lead though. He’s pretty reasonable the whole time and a talented fighter. Of course how his character story ends up will really depend on the decision you make at the end of the game. After each level you are able to unlock and power up new skills. You can choose to focus purely on good abilities or grab some from the dark side. Personally I maxed out healing first and then went on to Force Lightning. There’s a good chance you’ll never use any of the other abilities so grab these first and then worry about the rest later. I recommend grabbing the Lightning because it’s incredibly handy for taking out any minion in a single blow.

The key branching off point though is near the end of the game. Effectively you have to choose between destroying or sparing someone. Based on what you answer will determine how the ending plays out. I ended up being on the dark side so the ending was crazy as you have to fight off waves of both Jedi and Sith. At one point both sides were even teaming up to stop Jaden which I thought was pretty crazy. I guess Jaden’s so powerful that everyone has to go after him. I imagine that the good path may have been a bit easier since there’s at least one boss fight you wouldn’t have to go through plus in all the levels the Jedi will be helping you but I’m sure it’ll still be a tough endeavor.

As mentioned, the game’s difficulty here is pretty fair. Most of the time you can just win any fight but it will take some time. You can also go the more reckless path which will be quicker but result in more deaths. If you die enough times then it will ultimately be longer. I enjoyed the gameplay a lot but even I would just jump past the Dark Jedi at times. Keep in mind that there’s no EXP system so there’s no real reason to fight them. You can pretty much always choose to just skip every minion in the room and keep on going. Just watch out for one of them trying the ole Force Choke from behind move though. That can be hard to dodge and deals quite a bit of damage.

The gameplay is pretty much unchanged from the first. You have an array of blasters and light sabers at the ready here as you attack enemies and try to get to the goal. The mission objectives will vary from defeating enemies to just securing some bombs and getting out of there. Your power up tree gives you a point after each level. Once you’ve completed 5 levels you have the option of entering the next chapter or completing a bonus level to power up your fighter more. Naturally doing the latter may make for an easier game experience but since you don’t need anything beyond healing or lightning it’s really optional I would say.

Your lightsaber has more customizations in this game as you can choose to have two light sabers at once, a double edged one, or stay with standard. I went with the double option as soon as it was possible and never looked back. Duel wielding is just too much fun to pass up. I also feel like it’s a lot more powerful in general although I assume they all have their pros and cons. You can even choose which attack strategy you want your moves to have, speed, power, or balanced. I went with full on power which is a departure from my usual pick of speed but it just felt right.

The graphics here are really solid. All of the action scenes are on point. The soundtrack is still more on the forgettable side but it was pretty hype to have Jaden get the Darth Vader theme. I was not expecting that. The story is really engaging as expected. I would have liked to have seen Luke step in a bit more but at least having Kyle from the first game return as a main character was appreciated since it helped to give him some real closure here.

Overall, Jedi Academy is a great game. It’s got a nice balance of action gameplay and story content. It’s a breeze from start to finish. The game feels relatively quick but at the same time I would say there is a satisfying amount of content here. The main campaign is probably around 7-8 hours I would say and then you can go back to quickly get the second ending. Additionally you can also try to get the Platinum Trophy here. That will take a little more time to be sure as some of these trophies can be tricky. I missed out on quite a few myself because I didn’t realize I should have let multiple bosses destroy me…….It’d be nice if we could get another game in this series at some point. There’s always a lot of potential playing as a Jedi.

Overall 8/10